Born To Run…And Listen

There is no doubt that Bruce Springsteen is hard wired for hard work. This is a simple fact that anyone who has ever seen one of his concerts can attest to.

But there are plenty of musicians who practice and play often and they don’t become Bruce Springsteen.

In a recent review of Springsteen’s new autobiography, Born to Run, New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner, points out an interesting theory suggested by Springsteen about why his songs resonate.

You see, Springsteen didn’t learn to drive until he was in his late 20s, a combination of a father who wouldn’t teach him and his inability to afford a car. The result was that The Boss often had to hitch rides and sit in the passenger seat. During these rides, he listened and learned from “every sort of rub, redneck, responsible citizen and hell-raiser the Jersey Shore had to offer.”

It leaves little doubt that these conversations and their stories served as inspiration for his songs and fueled both his empathy and desperation for those struggling to make it in America.

The opportunity to sit down and listen to people we don’t know or normally wouldn’t come into contact with seem far and few between. And we are all worse off when we don’t take the time to really listen.

While they seem to happen less organically, one organization, World in Conversation, is creating dialogue between diverse groups such as U.S. soldiers and students in Afghanistan, and citizens of Israel and Pakistan. To date, they’ve created 10,000 meaningful conversations between diverse groups who otherwise wouldn’t be able to listen to perspectives different from theirs.

We shouldn’t have to hitchhike like Bruce or go to a lab like World in Conversation to listen to those voices around us. We just have to strike up a conversation with the waitress at the diner, the conductor on the train, or the person holding a sign with which we might disagree.

In our crazy, hectic lives where we race from place to place, we all seem born to run. But only those who stop to listen, truly get to enjoy the race.

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